Goatboy here and let me tell you as a Chaos Space Marine player – you will need to grab Faith and Fury. Here’s Why!
There is a lot of stuff for the 6 Legions presented, and I think each one got multiple good Strats. A lot of these Strats will be the backbone of how Chaos will work in the new Meta. With Marines becoming very powerful and Tau responding well to killing the Power armor – Chaos is in position to cause a lot of headaches with a few new choice units. Chapter Approved is coming, so we might even see more usage coming for Chaos with cheaper Chaos Space Marines and thus making the True 17 a potent option to supercharge some of the other Legions on their hunt for Command Points.
I will go over the first 3 Legions and then continue with the other 3 Legions in another article. We have a crazy batch of 40k releases from the new Sisters, Inquisition, Marine updates, and Chaos Space Marines. The first new thing we have that effects all the Legions is the new Daemon Weapons. Overall I think they are pretty impressive as there are a few set up to get added to Daemon Princes. This is cool to me as I love Daemon Princes, and having options for cool, powerful relics will be a big bonus. We all know how cool the Khorne Chaos Daemon Prince is with his crazy weapon of doom, so having options for the other princes is a great thing.
I will go ahead and do a basic daemon review from 1 to 5 Nurglings. This will flow over to the Legions as well with a slant towards competitive play. Basic rules for Daemon weapons are you roll a d6 before attacking, and if you roll a one you can’t attack and take a Mortal wound. I wish they also just gave you extra attacks based on what you rolled, but that is just me.
Q’D’Ak, the Boundless
Usefulness – 3 Nurglings
This weapon basically should say you don’t get saves. It turns off Invulnerable saves and is already -3 ap. Most of the time, models won’t have any type of save as this model comes in strong. It replaces a power sword, helforged sword, or force sword only. It’s only for a Tzeentch model (which is obvious by the nutty name), so you might not see it that often as you would like. If this was available for Thousand Sons, then we could start talking more, but currently, it is in a weird slot for Chaos Space Marines. It isn’t bad – it’s more of a Spend some command points to get it for specific matchups.
Thaa’ris and Rhi’ol, the Rapacious Talons
Usefulness – 4.5 Nurglings
Slaanesh model only, and it replaces either two sets of lightning claws or two sets of Malefic Talons. This weapon still allows you to reroll the wound roll, and whatever you roll to activate the Daemon weapon – it gives you that many extra attacks. For all the Characters that can take this – this means you either get your basic attacks for your weapons you have – or more attacks. This seems pretty good for Daemon Princes as they normally had double Malefic Talons, so upping their damage potential is amazing. I used Slaanesh ones a lot of the time due to having access to a Feel No Pain spell, so having this option is pretty dang good. If the chatter for Night Lord armies does come up – this might be a great default Relic for your dark Emo Chaos prince of darkness.
Zaal, The Wrathful
Usefulness – 2.5
Khorne model only and its Daemon Weapon rule is whatever dice you roll you gain that much in strength until the end of the Phase. This is one I wish you just got more attacks, but it is ok. This can be given to someone with a Power Sword or Helforged sword, so it is useful for Daemon Princes too. It’s AP is -5, so most regular armor saves are going to fold if this guy gets there and starts to do some damage. It’s only a flat damage 2 so not too much to write home about.
G’Holl’Ax, Fist of Decay
Usefulness – 2
Nurgle model only and it replaces a Power Fist – meaning no Daemon Princes. I don’t understand why he has a Strength Value as it always wounds on a 2+. The -1 to hit shouldn’t be tacked on as it is an expensive replacement to get onto a model. That is just me, though – you have to roll a 2+ and then have to deal with the chance to miss with a Chaos Lord.
Ul’O’Cca, the Black Axe
Usefulness – 3
The undivided Chaos weapon this Axe is interesting. It replaces a Power Axe, Force Axe, or Daemonic Axe. It has the interesting rule of any modified roll of a 4+ to wound causes a mortal wound. I get the feeling there could be some weird stuff you can stack this with even though the unmodified roll is the Mortal wound engine. If the user was Nurgle and some Warlord traits were up, you could see some interesting interactions. I think some of the other Relics do it better, but it is something to think about.
Overall the Talons are the big winner as they give the bearer a lot of power for a single weapon swap. If my thoughts end up being correct – we could see these things pop up in the coming months as Chaos Space Marine players adapt and change their armies from board control lists to Beta strike lists.
Next will go through the power of the first 3 listed Legions. I think all have their uses depending on what you need – from great Utility options to powerful army structuring changes. This is a powerful release, and I hope Chapter Approved ends up doing more good than harm. Same with losing the Legend units that could have made their way back to armies but most likely will fade away into the fog that is the long night on the shelf.
Legion – Word Bearers
Overall Usefulness – 3 Nurglings Main / 4 as Utility side player
The Word Bearers got a big set of updates that really makes them a better Legion. I think this is great, and the only reason I listed it down to 2-3 is that the game doesn’t have a place fully for them yet other than a Utility player based on their Strats.
Warlord Traits – 4 Nurglings
All of them are good. There isn’t a terrible one. We have Utility ones like the d3 addition Command points and adding 3″ to Aura abilities, which are both good. The making a badass character one like making the model a Daemon and possessed with adding +1 to strength, attacks, and move characteristics to give a way to regain wounds each round. Heck, the weird Feel No Pain isn’t bad either as it gives you a 6+ for reg wounds and a 3+ for mortal wounds.
Stratagems – 4 Nurglings
I think almost all of the Stratagems are good. The only kinda meh one is the old one that let them not die when rolling doubles to Summon. The biggest Utility one is the if you fail to cast a spell, you can burn a CP and have the spell cast, it can’t be denied, and you just take 1 mortal wound. You have to fail the test, but it could be amazing if the Mortarion Armies start to come back in the current meta. All of the good Strats cost 1 CP, so they are all useful. Again if there is some kind of Possessed bomb that can work, you could see it here as they can push another point of damage out from their Claws/Tentacles/Dreams. The cutest one is forcing a single saving throw to be a 6 if you want to for a Character. It can only be done once per Character, but it is something interesting to throw out there when you need your model to make that one saving throw to live. Dark Apostles also can know and pray an extra prayer as well, so this could make for some interesting combos.
Relics – 3 Nurglings
I like a lot of the relics – but I am sad as I could see some uses if we still have biker characters. There is a +1 to Invulnerable save options that let you get to a max of a 3+, which isn’t bad. There is even a +1 to cast option and knowing an extra Psychic spell that is pretty good too. I really like the Book that gives you two Chaos Boon Rolls before the battle, and you reroll spawn hood/daemonhood and duplicate results. You could get a crazy Chaos lord pretty quickly that could do some goofy stuff. The best one might be the Ashen Axe that doesn’t let non-vehicle/titanic or units with minimum moves fallback. It could be interesting to show up with your Warp Talons coming down hot, locking some Drones up a bit, and watching as the Tau player has to figure out how to get out of it.
Legion – Night Lords
Overall Usefulness – 4-5 Nurglings
The Night Lords got a crazy bump up as their warlord traits, relics, and Stratagems really amped them up. I think we’ll start to see a lot of Night Lords Detachments as a unit of Warp Talons with the Raptorial Detachment upgrade will be common. They can easily be set up for crazy assaults, and with a Mark of Khorne, you could have a unit of guys move up, get mixed into armies, and lockdown entire units/options. This is huge as they are not a Legion defaulted to specific Marks, so you can really combo some things out and utilize a ton of Stratagems. It also means you probably need some friendly Red Corsairs to help make it all work – but it is something to think about.
Warlord Traits – 3-4 Nurglings
The weakest update for them is probably the Warlord Traits. They are good, but they are all about making the Warlord more of a Killing Machine. You get another combo of mortal wounds with unmodified 6’s causing a single mortal Wound. It isn’t bad, and when mixed with say the crazy new Claw relic, you could have a model punching way above their weight. The one with the Shadows lets the Warlord get tougher while hiding, which is neat. All in all, they are not bad, but again, they are not making the army better – just the Warlord more of a pain in the butt.
Stratagems – 4-5 Nurglings
Wow, these are pretty dang amazing. The Vox Stream for 2 CP turns off an enemy unit Aura ability at the end of a movement phase within 18″ of a Night Lords unit. If you are the controlling player, you could say – be at the end – stack turning this off and then deep strike a unit near those pesky Infiltrators. There is another 1 CP one that lets you give a unit a +1 to hit for fighting against a unit that has a lower leadership. Remember, they force leadership to be lower, so it is pretty easy to stack up a 2+ hitting unit of Warp Talons coming in. They even have a 1CP can’t fall back option for non-vehicle/titanic or min move characteristic. They also have 2 different increase charge options with a 3d6 charge for a jump unit coming from reserves and a +2 to charge for a unit fully in a terrain feature.
Relics – 4 Nurglings
They have some good weapons with additional Claw like options that give d3 to d6 extra attacks. The Sword could be interesting as well as each kill causes the moral to be at -2. There is a good armor option that gives the bearer a 2+ and always counting in Cover. The Vox Daemonicus seems interesting as it turns down Aura abilities to 1″ and even makes it where units can’t Deep Strike within 12″. Heck they even have a combo where the bearer gets an additional -1 to hit with models within an inch of the bearer. Relics are not bad – it’s the Stratagems that make this Legion shine.
Overall Usefulness – 4-5 Nurglings
This Legion has always been powerful, and this update continues making them good. The only thing keeping them back is most likely the Night Lords’ overall usefulness in the current environment. I still think there is a Rhino army using Alpha Legion, lots of Cult troops, and whatever other options you need to push up and get into the enemy. Of course, that means you need some Red Corsairs to hang out at home, but it depends on how many CP you really need.
Warlord Traits – 3 Nurglings
We have another stacking -1 to hit warlord trait so you could build out a model like a Discordant lord with a -3 to hit starting if the Dark Apostle gets his prayer off. Heck, if they are Nurgle, you could stack another -1 to get you a -4 model. That is probably no good but something goofy to think about. The redeploy Warlord trait seems good too as you can pull a few units in Rhinos up off the table and reset them up to match what your opponent is playing against. The Warlord traits are not bad, but you don’t need anything specific to win your game.
Stratagems – 4-5 Nurglings
Forward positions are still here and just as powerful as it was before. If you are not running Rhinos, you could push some units up the field and set up some brutal firepower quickly. We have a 2 CP conceal option that forces enemies not to shoot a unit unless it is the closest visible unit. This seems interesting, and heck makes me wonder if I could make a possessed bomb that works. We have seen the 1 CP +3 to opponents roll for blowing up a vehicle. I like this as there are a ton of armies that wouldn’t like tanks, flyers, speeders, or Knights blowing up within their lines. The 1 CP Scrambled Coordinates seems fun as you can force an opponent to set up a unit 12″ away. Heck, they even have a meld back into the shadows with a unit for 1 CP. This could be useful to get a unit across the battlefield to hold that much-needed objective. They even have a shoot at an enemy unit in your opponent’s movement phase option. Remember how you can push forward with models – well, this means you can most likely shoot. They also get another Warlord Trait for 1 CP – so you can easily grab that redeployment trick if you needed.
Relics – 4 Nurglings
The relics are pretty impressive due to how some of them combine with Warlord traits – like being able to hit characters with this combi-bolter gun. Mindveil seems interesting as it replaces your move characteristic with a 3d6, lets you move over other models, charge over other models, and charge if they fell back. I wonder if it will be useful on a Daemon prince without wings – giving you a cheaper option. The 2+ plate is also useful as well for making your Daemon prince a better beat stick. Heck, they even get a screw with your opponent’s stratagem ability like the Culexus assassin.
Next time will go over the next 3 Legions. I think all of these updates are really good and go a long way to making the armies work better. Once we see, Chapter Approved and any improvement on point costs will determine if we can compete with Chaos Space Marines. I think there is something there beyond just trying to play the game at a harder level than your opponents.
~Death to the False Emperor! Which Legion do you think did the best?